Mattoo and Subramanian: Beyond Doha

Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian’s push for vastly expanded global trade negotiations, seen two weeks ago in the FT, appears in a much longer form in this month’s Foreign Affairs.

Claude Barfield objects:

[T]he two economists recommend a vastly expanded negotiating remit (in some instances in conjunction with other international institutions), including food security, energy and climate change, competition policy, new currency and financial regulations, and supervision of sovereign wealth funds.

There are two huge problems with proceeding in this manner. First, WTO members are fiercely protective of their rights, and many would rebel against a wholesale revision of the 2001 Doha ministerial decisions regarding the substantive agenda. Second, the issues championed by Mattoo and Subramanian are exceedingly complex could take years to sort out. Further, a move to short-circuit the negotiating process would be taken as a direct, coercive attack on the policy space of the developing world – this is particularly true of the larger countries such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Attempting to move directly to a “more ambitious agenda” thus would likely backfire and deepen the already deep divisions in Geneva.

Mattoo and Subramanian laid out their ideas in full in a 30-page PIIE working paper last October, though I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

1 thought on “Mattoo and Subramanian: Beyond Doha

  1. Pingback: A crisis round at the WTO? « Trade Diversion

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